On Mondays I try to answer Reader Questions, on Tuesday I try to do a Top 10 post, on Wednesdays I always post about marriage, and on Fridays I try to post a 400-word inspirational marriage post. That works wonderfully for planning, but it means that sometimes I have things to share that don’t really fit on any particular day!
So today I’d really like to tell you about a few things that I’ve really enjoyed lately, because maybe you’d enjoy them, too!
I am totally hooked on this. It is amazing. My husband and I have always been history buffs, but this is just such a well-done series about Washington’s spy network during the American Revolution. My youngest daughter is absolutely hooked, too, and we’ve convinced my oldest daughter and her husband to watch it as soon as their exams are over.
Keith and I just finished watching Season 3 before we left, and let me just say–Mary in Episode 5 with the gun. SO FUNNY. And so amazing. And surprising.
Here’s another historical spy series, but this time it’s about Canadian spies in France during World War II. I think this is probably my favourite TV show ever. Even beating out Call the Midwife. You can watch episodes on the CBC website, though their streaming isn’t the best.
When we were staying with friends in Pennsylvania this week on the beginning of our RV tour, we watched The Intern with Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro.
Oh, my goodness, what a great movie! It’s about a retired widower who had a great career, and is now trying to keep himself busy, and failing miserably. Meanwhile, a new ecommerce fledgling business is hiring senior citizen interns. So he joins an internet startup company, and even though he looks totally out of his league, soon those around him start to imitate him because they realize that the older generation has something important that the rest of us have lost.
I just loved the father-daughter type of relationship that developed between the two main characters. It’s really beautiful. And I don’t know–I guess I just related to Anne Hathaway’s character. She built this business that took off beyond what she intended, and it had major ramifications for her family. And she was trying so hard to balance it all, and feeling guilty at every turn.
I kind of feel like that’s been my life over the last few years. My husband has actually cut back on work in the last year so that he can do more with me and encourage my speaking. And there’s a big part of me that feels guilty for that, especially since Keith really enjoyed his job. But we’re enjoying our life here, too. It seems, though, that when it’s the woman who has a business, there are always tensions that aren’t there in the same way when it’s a guy. Keith and I and the girls have had to navigate it, but I did feel for Anne’s character.
It was just a great movie.
Speaking of Father-Daughter Relationships…
The other series we just love is Blue Bloods. But Netflix did something terrible!!!!! They realized that 90% of Canadians were using a patch to convince Netflix they were actually in the U.S., because American Netflix offerings are way better than Canadian Netflix offerings. Anyway, I realize that this isn’t exactly good, but we were all doing it (somehow I don’t think that’s a good excuse! 🙂 ). So Netflix fixed the patch and now we can’t do it anymore. So now I can’t watch Blue Bloods. Sigh.
But I want Tom Selleck’s character to be my dad. I really do. That’s one thing I still mourn–not having a great dad. I have a great mom, but every now and then I see these shows and I feel like, “I wish I had that so much!” Rom coms don’t do that to me. I love my hubby and have no complaints. But movies or shows with great dads? Yikes.
An Awesome–and Challenging–Book: There Was a Time
This is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time. Written by Dr. Kenneth Reed, a counsellor who wants to see people find real change, it’s a diagnosis of what’s wrong with a lot of the church, but it’s written as an allegory–almost a novel–about a particular couple, Kyle and Clair. They both believe, but they both lack passion. And after Kyle comes face to face with his own shortcomings, and is forced to become truly authentic, the two together realize that too often authenticity isn’t valued in the church. After tragedy, Kyle finally gets the ministry he’s dreamed of, even though it’s only after tremendous humbling.
When the book opens, Kyle is a small town pastor in a small church who has lost his passion. He preaches, and everyone shouts “Amen!”, but nobody ever actually experiences real growth or real change. And Clair has done everything by the book her entire life, and yet no one seems to value her. It’s like she’s invisible. Their marriage lacks passion, the church lacks passion, but everybody looks happy on the outside.
They have what they’re supposed to want–the kids, the marriage, the stable job–but everyone’s unsatisfied, and they can’t put their finger on why.
The first few chapters suck you in because you’ll see so many common church problems there: the deacon who takes control of the deacon’s board; the inability to welcome newcomers in case they may “taint” the congregation; even the hypocrisy on what is sin and what isn’t. I loved this quote:
Whereas people of the “evil world” have a favorite lounge or bar-and-grill, preachers cannot frequent such places of degradation, so their vices must take on a different form. It is called a “triple stack of buttermilk pancakes with bacon on the side”, no matter what time of day it is, because, bless their hearts, many restaurants serve breakfast all day long, 24/7. When Kyle was saved and gave up alcohol and drugs, everyone praised God for his victory over such worldly shortcomings, but on the evangelistic field and preaching at different churches, addiction takes on a different form. On the evangelistic field, it was common practice after every evening service for the pastor and his wife to take Kyle and Clair and head for the nearest all-night diner where breakfast is served twenty-four hours a day. There they again praise God for deliverance over drugs and alcohol as they consume five thousand calories of pancakes, waffles, ham, sausage, eggs, and hash browns.
I think we all can relate to that!
One day Kyle gets a call from an old friend from college. He’s dying, and he wants Kyle to visit. Kyle does, and we learn that the friend is homosexual. But that’s not all. During college, before Kyle became a Christian, the two were involved in a relationship. Kyle believes he’s put all that behind him now that he’s found Christ, but in coming face to face with his dying friend, he realizes that he’s been lying to everyone.
He walks in that hospital room determined to “save” his friend. But the encounter doesn’t go so well.
“I care about your eternal soul!” Kyle says.
“I would rather have you care about me,” his friend replies.
And that starts Kyle questioning everything he’s believed about his faith. Who is he, really, if he still has homosexual temptations?
The book deals from then on with this question of homosexuality, but I really think it’s applicable to all areas of judgment that Christians often make. Are we truly open to authenticity and welcoming people where they’re at, or do we demand perfection before someone can know Christ?
Jesus does His work only when we’re humble and face up to the truth. Without truth, there is no healing, because we can’t even name what’s wrong.
I actually enjoyed Dr. Reed’s treatment of the homosexuality in the church, because I found it so very balanced. As I’ve said before, being a homosexual and having homosexual tendencies is NOT a sin. Our temptations are never sins. It is only actions that are sins. And to treat homosexual feelings as somehow more inherently sinful than any other temptations just closes off the redeeming message of Christ to those who really need it, while simultaneously letting the rest of us feel self-righteous because “we’re not like that.”
The question that Kyle grapples with is this:
Can I accept my orientation without accepting the behavior of it?
In other words, can he realize that he has homosexual feelings without also feeling like he has to act on them? And the answer Kyle finds is that he can. Reed explains how Kyle feels about his marriage to Clair:
He is genuine to his commitments rather than his sexuality, and his commitments connect him to a greater significance.
And what Kyle finds, too, is that when you’re authentic you’re much more fun to be around!
People who are for gay marriage won’t like this book, because Dr. Reed accepts that some have homosexual feelings but also believes that homosexual relationships are wrong. But people who are adamantly against homosexuality won’t like it either because Dr. Reed doesn’t make Kyle “cure” himself of homosexuality. I often figure that if both sides hate you, you’re likely doing something right.
The overarching message is this: how can the church be authentic and call others to authenticity? How can we show love at the same time as calling people to holy living? And I think he raises some amazing questions that will stay with you. And the story of Kyle and Clair is certainly one that I have been pondering a lot since reading it.
It is a super easy read, and really challenging, and I hope more of us try to grapple with some of the issues that he raises.
Coming Next Week: The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle Sale
I’ve spent the last week on the road frantically devouring so many of the awesome books in this year’s Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle Sale. I got a preview look at them, and they are fantastic! I’ll be telling you especially about one on metabolism in my post on Wednesday, which is when the bundle sale opens. Last night at my Girl Talk event a few of us got into a discussion before the event on how weight is NOT the problem–nutrition is. Weight is simply a symptom. If you look at me, you’d think I was healthy, because I’m not overweight. But I have a lot of health markers that aren’t great.
We need to change the whole discussion about weight and health, and I hope to start us on that next week!
So there you go–some movies and shows I’ve really enjoyed, and a book and a challenge for you. Hope that gives you something to read/watch this weekend. As for Keith and me, we’ll be enjoying some hiking in Michigan as we get ready for my Girl Talk in the Upper Peninsula (the UP!) tomorrow night. Have a great weekend!
What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum?
It looks like this week’s posts got some great shares and have hit the tops this week! So let’s look at some other posts that made it into the top 4! It’s all about your spouse—
#1 NEW Post on the Blog: It’s Time To Break Up With Your Imaginary Boyfriend
#4 on the Blog Overall: 2 Player Games To Play With Your Husband
#4 from Facebook: He’s Not Pathetic, And She’s Not Frigid: A Plea For Understanding
#2 from Pinterest: What To Do When Your Husband Disappoints You